Dr. Oz's Top 5 Mistakes Dieters MakePosted on Dec 26th 2010 8:00AM by Norine Dworkin-McDaniel
David M. Russel, Harpo Inc.
You ate and sipped your way from Thanksgiving to New Year's. The food was delicious; the eggnog and champagne divine. But now, well, now your pants won't zip. Holiday weight gain is hands down the most unwanted gift of all. Fortunately, you don't have to keep it. America's favorite doctor, Mehmet Oz, better known as the host of "The Dr. Oz Show," is here to share his most effective weight loss strategies for shedding those holiday pounds. Dr. Oz explains how to avoid the biggest dieting blunders so you're sure to start off your post-holiday weight loss plan right.
Mistake No. 1: You Crash Diet
Of course, diets that promise big weight loss fast sound great. After all, who wouldn't want to drop every pound you gained in just a few short weeks? And sure, if you radically cut your calorie intake, you will lose weight. But here's the catch: You can't eat like that forever. And once you go back to eating the way you usually do, you'll regain what you lost and possibly even more. "The fundamental problem these diets have is that you cannot overwhelm your biological drive to eat with willpower. That's why 98 percent of these diets fail," said Dr. Oz. "Any diet that eliminates an entire food group or that replaces meals with mysterious concoctions aren't good for long-term weight loss."
Want another reason: Our bodies are built to help prevent us from starving when there's not enough food to go around. But since our bodies don't know the difference between famine and a crash diet, they react the same way -- by slowing your metabolism, which makes it even harder to lose weight. "Your body is not going to let you waste energy, so it rapidly adjusts its metabolism based on caloric intake," Dr. Oz said.
Dr. Oz's Fix: Eat a variety of healthy foods so you don't feel like you're depriving yourself. Then track your calories with a food diary and find ways to eat just 100 fewer calories every day. "Every long-term weight study ever done in which people kept the weight off for more than two years came back to this same basic rule," said Dr. Oz. "It's not hard to do. And 100 calories is such a small amount, your body can't tell you're on a diet, so your metabolism doesn't slow down and you'll naturally lose the weight."
Mistake No. 2: You Skip Breakfast
You'd think that bypassing breakfast would be a quick and easy way to shave some extra calories -- except, you're actually more likely to consume those calories (and more) later in the day. Thinking you have some calories to play with because you didn't eat breakfast, you may supersize your lunch or grab snacks that aren't particularly good for you simply because you're hungry. In addition, skipping breakfast prompts your body to store fat rather than metabolize it. In fact, research shows that breakfast skippers tend to be heavier. While breakfast eaters consume more calories, they're also slimmer, more active and have healthier diets overall. In a study of people who'd dropped at least 30 pounds and kept it off, 78 percent said they routinely ate breakfast.
Dr. Oz's Fix: Eating something within an hour or so after waking up boosts your metabolism by as much as 10 percent. Go for things like oatmeal sprinkled with nuts and raisins or a tablespoon of peanut butter, a veggie omelet with whole-wheat toast, or low-fat cottage cheese with fruit. The mix of protein and fiber holds off hunger through the morning so you're less inclined to help yourself to the powdered doughnuts at the office or overeat later on. In a recent University of Connecticut study, when volunteers had eggs for breakfast, they consumed 100 to 400 fewer calories at lunch than when they ate bagels, even though both the bagel and egg breakfasts contained the same amount of calories. Other research suggests that fiber-rich breakfasts help you burn more fat when you exercise. No time to sit down to eat? Do what the Oz family does: Drink a Magical Breakfast Blaster as you head to work or drop off the kids at school. "It's fast, it's filling and has everything you need in the morning," said Dr. Oz. "It's purple so kids like it, too."
Magical Breakfast Blaster
This recipe makes two 136-calorie servings.
½ large banana, broken into chunks
1/3 cup soy protein
½ tablespoon flaxseed oil
¼ cup frozen blueberries
½ tablespoon apple juice concentrate or honey
1 teaspoon psyllium seed husks
1 cup water
Powdered vitamins (optional)
Put everything into the blender. Blend and drink.
Mistake No. 3: You Drink Extra Calories
When we eat a big meal, our body knows it's been fed and we eat less at the next meal. But that doesn't happen when we drink high-calorie beverages, which are estimated to add about 235 extra (empty) calories a day to our diets. Our bodies don't seem to register liquid calories the way it does solid calories. So even after guzzling a jumbo-size soda at the movies, we don't eat less when it's time to eat again. Specialty coffee drinks, fruit drinks, sodas, energy drinks and alcohol are some of the biggest calorie traps. Alcohol is actually doubly so because drinking relaxes our willpower. Have a few cocktails and suddenly having that slice of cheesecake seems like a pretty good idea.
Dr. Oz's Fix: Choose lower-calorie drinks. Like coffee? Leave out the whipped cream, syrups and chocolate shavings, and drink it black or with a little sugar. "A teaspoon of sugar is just 16 calories, a tiny amount," said Dr. Oz. "People aren't getting fat because of 16 calories." Can't give up your soda? You can have both soda and fruit juice if you add a splash of your favorite 100 percent fruit juice to club soda. You get the fizz with fewer calories. "If I'm sitting down to a meal, that's what I'll get," said Dr. Oz.
Snacks get a bad rap because we think of them as junky foods we shouldn't eat. But nutritious snacks are actually a dieter's best friend, because eating frequently can actually help you consume fewer calories. "Thoughtful snacking keeps you from getting ravenous between meals and making poor diet choices later on," said Dr. Oz. "People who eat several small meals and snacks a day are more likely to control their hunger and lose weight." He should know. He snacks constantly. "I'd bet that at least half the calories I eat are snacks," he said. "I don't like being hungry, and I don't like the threat of being hungry, so I keep healthy foods near me all the time. Whenever I feel a little tinge of hunger, I throw a handful of something in my mouth." The snacks he relies on: apples, radishes, carrots and nuts.
Dr. Oz's Fix: Each day, pack several healthy snacks in small containers or snack-size baggies to keep in your purse or an insulated tote in your car. If you always have diet-friendly snacks at hand, you'll be less tempted to raid the vending machine. Just watch the portion sizes, cautioned Dr. Oz, "so you don't overdo it."
Mistake No 5:You Don't Drink Enough Water
The next time you feel hungry, take a big, long drink of water and you may not need to eat. Because the hormones in our intestines that tell us we're hungry are very similar to the hormones that let us know we're thirsty, we're not very good at distinguishing hunger from thirst, which is why we typically reach for food when we should be drinking. "Often hunger pangs are just your body screaming for a little extra H20," said Dr. Oz. And when we're not well hydrated, our metabolism drags. "Water is essential for burning calories," said Dr. Oz. "Adults who drink eight-plus glasses of water a day burn more calories than those who drink less."
Dr. Oz's Fix: Drink water before every meal and snack and a few more in between. According to a study done at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, overweight or obese study volunteers who drank a 16-ounce bottle of water before every meal lost 44 percent more weight after 12 weeks than volunteers who didn't drink water before dining. That may be because water drinkers ate about 75 fewer calories when they drank water before their meals, as another Virginia Tech study found. "I carry a water bottle with me wherever I go so I'm constantly sipping," said Dr. Oz.
If eight glasses a day seems daunting, try this mind trick: Drink from larger bottles, so instead of consuming eight glasses, you're sipping just three and a half bottles. Easy! And there's no reason to always drink it plain. "I completely get that people think water is bland," said Dr. Oz. "In our house, we make water more appealing by adding slices of fruit or a splash of fruit juice to give it a different taste."